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PA Posts by Month & Year

Artist Portrait: Ola Gjeilo

Say hello to composer and pianist Ola Gjeilo. Ola’s concert works are performed all over the world and he recently finished a residency with the Phoenix Chorale. Both of his piano albums have been recognized for a wonderful spontaniety contrasted with contemplative melodic lines and rich harmonies. We audio chatted over Skype to bring you . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Ola Gjeilo

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PA Shorts: On Forging A Personal Musical Connection

I’m always encouraging students to find something personal in their music—something from their own lives and experience. Often, they look at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears. But, I made this practice chart, they say. Should I use my third finger here? Why doesn’t (name your pianist here) follow the dynamics . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: On Forging A Personal Musical Connection

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The Anti-Masterclass

Antimatter: Any substance that, when combined with an equal amount of matter, results in the complete and direct conversion of all substance to energy. (WhatIs.com)

Anti-Masterclass: Any masterclass that, when combined with an equal part of input from all participants, results in the complete and direct conversion of all playing to energy and artistry.

I . . . → Read More: The Anti-Masterclass

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Playing With Wolfgang: My Dog Ate My Minuet

The first time I ever worked on a Bach dance movement I felt like I had encountered an alien landscape. I had grown up on Bach chorales but somehow those sober, staid, and reverent tunes just did not help me with the dances. Of course, I am the person who was laughed out of . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: My Dog Ate My Minuet

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PA Shorts: Boundaries

“You can’t fill up when you’re holding your breath. And writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water—just as writing is also about dealing with the emptiness.” (Ann Lamott)

I like the part about letting ideas and smells run down like water. . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Boundaries

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A Personal Lesson In Promise

The following is a portion of a speech I gave last Saturday at the local kick off for the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition. I was asked to speak, to those interested in entering and the local auxiliary who sponsors entrants, on my passion for music and give them some words of advice. The word . . . → Read More: A Personal Lesson In Promise

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Rocking Piano Down The Runway

http://jasonhargrove.com/

“Whoa! Not many people could pull that dress off,” I thought as I gazed at the pictures on Pinterest. The dress was low cut and red, with the bodice made entirely of roses. Next to it, was a short dress of ivy and pink roses. As I scrolled down I saw many variations . . . → Read More: Rocking Piano Down The Runway

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Playing With Wolfgang: Ives for Boston

A few years ago I got out Thoreau from Ives’ Concord Sonata and decided to discover it. As you all know I’m a sucker for pieces about the outdoors, plus there’s that flute solo which is quite delicious. For several reasons the project was never completed and the piece languished near the bottom of my . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Ives for Boston

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PA Shorts: As Time Goes By

Last Thursday, film critic Roger Ebert lost his long battle with cancer. I was listening to a Fresh Air interview by Terry Gross and was struck by the following:

I went to see “La Dolce Vita” by Fellini, and that movie has been a touchstone for me, because when I saw it in 1960, there . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: As Time Goes By

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Matching Quiz

Tomorrow evening is our EAC Piano Recital. We always try to do something to make the evening special for both the performers and the audience. This spring, we decided to choose quotations to project behind each pianist as they perform. There were no limits on the origin of the quotation. The only stipulation was that . . . → Read More: Matching Quiz

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Artist Portrait: Shai Wosner

It’s good for your health as a musician to be in the company of other good musicians. I don’t think I could really exist as a musician without that.

And, pianist Shai Wosner practices what he preaches! He is currently off an a European tour playing trios by Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Shai Wosner

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Vintage PA: What’s On The Inside

“Wow !” I said, “You are like a different pianist!” And she was. Before, there had been surges and awkward accents in the opening to her Intermezzo, impossible to remove despite hard work on both of our parts. Now, after one week on meds for ADHD, there was a beautiful calm flow and elegance about . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: What’s On The Inside

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Playing With Wolfgang: Schubert Interrupted

We all know that it is rude to interrupt a person when they are speaking. Most of us learned this early in our lives. Later, we discovered that there are exceptions to the non-interruption rule, such as Great Uncle Herbert droning on for a half hour about that crop of petunias he raised in 1947.

. . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: Schubert Interrupted

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Vintage Post: A Romantic Accusation

“You’re a romantic!” said my teacher in a surprised voice, as though this explained everything he found perplexing about me. I had never been accused of being anything but a pianist—romantic or no. I can’t remember what I was playing and it wasn’t necessarily meant as a compliment, though for some reason I felt a . . . → Read More: Vintage Post: A Romantic Accusation

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PA Shorts: Opportunity Knocks

One of my Facebook friends recently shared a few words of advice to aspiring musicians by pianist, singer, songwriter, and producer, Ben Folds. This earthy collection of thoughts struck a chord with me. Also, I find it entertaining and awesome that he wrote it while on a flight to Boston.

The advice applies to . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Opportunity Knocks

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Thoughts On An Upcoming Competition

Some thoughts for my student as she prepares for a competition…

Welcome to the next step of your personal musical journey. You will meet some colleagues who are musically much more mature and experienced than yourself. You will also meet those who are less experienced and mature. You have to be strong enough to be . . . → Read More: Thoughts On An Upcoming Competition

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